Call it naive.
Call it naive.
Head for home my darlings
Run the very last mile
Take your mother in your arms
Revel in her smile
See the family home awaiting
Doors always open for you
Embrace the love inside
The love that greets you two
To see you home again my loves
To look into your eyes
To touch your cheeks, your hair
Makes parents come alive
We hear the stories of life being lived
Interested and entranced
We see you grow and give
Toward life’s merry dance
Through all trials and tribulations
You know we’re always here
We hold you in our hearts
We hold you ever dear
Accepting your achievements
Your foibles and your flaws
Our pleasure’s in the hoping
That there’s always to be more
Lay down your heads our children
On the pillows of your youth
For sharing and for solace
This home is yours in truth
My colleagues have gone with a wave friendly
I sit enjoying my third cup of tea
restorative, after work as a volunteer bushy
the silence is golden, post a productive working bee
there is a koala up high looking down at me
a bee hive opposite, in the hollow of the tree
a cockatoo sits in shade on the creekside lee
blue sky above, sun shining brilliantly
hot on my back as summer clings enduringly
the wind is still, as still, as still can be
all I hear are sweet biscuits crunch, recharging energy
the water at my side this year flows sluggishly
not a ripple, not a splash, just mirror brown and glassy
the grass is dry and crisp, the colour yellow sandy
the eucalypts grey green, their heat resistance handy
not a breath ruffles the leaves hanging limp and lazy
the world outside is a world away, way too fast too crazy
the peace is as complete as any peace can be
as I sit in this place to savour, post working bee cup of tea
When there’s tracks that bring you down
Pick up the phone
I’m glad you called
I’m surprised to hear from you
No, it’s not ok
You only call me when you fall
I know you don’t really want to see me
It won’t be much fun for either of us
Still we couldn’t be much closer
There’s so much more for us to discuss
Maybe we will last an hour
Before another breakdown takes place
What’s the difference now you’re older?
It’s the addict lines, etched in your face
I’ll light the fire to keep us warm
You place the flowers to freshen the room
We’ll find some hope to keep us calm
While I listen to you
Then I know the infiltrators will come
Make the room cold again
You’ll throw in a line, to bullshit me some
To ensure there’s an escape route at hand
Back to the life you just retreated from
That hooks and tears and claws
The life you chose that defeated us
Relentlessly demanding more
Don’t let them in
Could be a very fine house
With children in the yard
It doesn’t have to be this hard
Everything could be easy, if not for you
With apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Storm light hues
A days greying light
As aggressive wind
Precedes nature’s might
The horizon darkens
Dry matter flies
Pile up high
Scattered fat drops
Precede storms eye
Shredded black cloud
Goes racing by
Driven rain follows
Meets a dry earth sigh
As flooding water
Above us all
The Titans vie
For heavenly dominance
In the violent sky
“It’s not really a bad sort of a bed”
Yes, I think that’s verbatim, what she said
As the sheets of the bed turned brightly red
As the blood pooled, ran, dripped onto the floor
As it stickily coagulated, could run no more
She, holding the knife, felt she’d settled her score
The body lay prone with wounds in the back
I couldn’t believe our assailant’s strong hack
Or the size of the knife she wielded with such knack
Her slightly built body, her small fine fingered hand
The ring on one finger, the jewelled wedding band
The wet sleeve to the elbow, all bloodied and damned
Her action reaction, tragically violent in hew
In her mind no alternative, nothing else to do
With everything gone and nothing to lose
When I walked in the room she was standing there
A satisfied smile, a flushed face, a hand in his hair
I approached quietly for the knife from this desolate pair
That’s when she said, “It’s not a bad sort of bed”
One that they’d shared, planned their lives up ahead
But it seems he’d had others in the bed instead
And the only life she saw had him on the bed dead
The ceiling and internal walls are painted black. The beams across the roof space are black. The pipes and cables, ducts and vents are all black. It is a coarse black, like a paint mixed with sand, light deadening black. One lateral wall is raw bluestone. Rough and light absorbing, dense cubed blue black cut rock chunks, mortared one on top of the other. But there is a small ray of light on the opposite side. A backlit bar of low yellow light filtering temptingly through glamorous bottles of spirits. They look inviting, sophisticated, sitting there on their top shelf, surrounded by sparkling, glistening, gleamingly clean glasses. It is a combination that speaks to many in the crowd. Pick me up, pour me out. Lift a glass, drink me down. Feel my calming warmth, my warming confidence. Dull your inhibitions, sharpen your connectivity, drink me toward carelessness, toward the fun side, toward letting yourself go.
There’s also a bit of a haze in the air. It’s incense. Maybe this is an atmospheric substitute for the cigarette and dope smoke of the good old days.
There is a lot of noise in here too. If a band isn’t playing, the mixing desk fills the room with sound. The bass is a palpable presence. I can’t find the melody. People are milling and chilling, hanging and slow dancing, like it is all some sort of discordant pagan ritual.
A new band is setting up. A pity for them that the previous band seems to have taken their crowd with them. Or else they have all gone out for a bit of smokey fresh air. I have no idea what is coming next. Just as I had no idea what went before. They were a group of young women playing synth rock in heavily modified bathing suits derived from the glam era. Their costumes were fashionalised using hi vis silvery satin in the form of a quilted one piece on the singer, as opposed to a high rise buttock displaying deep bikini brief, with a collared halter above and thigh high boots below, and including an elegant fascinator on the very top and across the face of the keyboard violinist. The latter appeared a bit like a layer cake of semi revealing fashion statements with plenty of skin in between. Theses two made their male drummer and relatively conservative female guitarist look tame.
They ran a concurrent fashion show en masse on the dance floor. Ten or so young women broadcast their fashion credentials to the audience with great enthusiasm. Designers were celebrated from the stage. It was an interesting combination of performance and presentation.
And now, the crowd is seriously thinning. It seems my $10 at the door is going to buy me quite an intimate next performance. The new band arcs up. Three young men of indifferent attitude. Except that they all have white plastic chains around their necks. The bass player looks a bit like Hagan. I take a second look. However, I hear his name is actually Matt Hayes. So, I conclude Hagan hasn’t been out band moonlighting after all. But it does take me back to more good old days, those of The High Suburban.
Oh, now this is getting interesting, three women have emerged from the taffeta, satin, chintz and chenille vulval gateway at the side of the stage. An Asian ethnic in customised white Buddhist(?) robes, a Caucasian ethnic in an over size t shirt and with a fringed veil across her eyes, an African ethnic in a Nigerian(?) style of shiny evening dress and shoulder strapped top that drops hanging panels of fabric vertically over her thighs. The African girl presents her peroxide crew cut capped face to the audience. She performs a musically accompanied monologue, then leaves the stage.
The music continues as she is followed by a procession of inter ethnic beauties who repeat the pattern of emerging from the vulval fabric gateway to perform individual dance solos on stage right. Their duration is of a few moments each, before stepping down into the crowd to continue some attractively sensual moves as writhing nymphs, each presenting diverse designer fashion statements to the room. The unexpected nature of the collective performance and sound is rather exotic.
The music is a sort of techno electro pop blend I guess. The Asian principal, Japanese I think, pumps a keyboard synthesiser and cuts on the violin. It turns out the veiled white with blonde curls is lead vocalist. She rocks and rolls while sliding and dialling up effects that expand the auditory spectrum. The backing keyboard player drapes his shoulder length dark hair across his face with every forward dip to the rhythm and then flicks it back again. His pale, lightly whiskered face against a black backdrop and above a black t shirt, bobs along in the background like the legendary bouncing ball of the good old days of cinema sing alongs. I can’t see the drummer, he is so low and set back on the stage, but they keep him working hard. Hold it, there he is. His head appears in a gap between the frontline surrounded by projected radiating laser light centred on his scone and pulsing outwards to infinity and beyond. At this point in time it is fair to say he is putting on a dazzling display. There is definitely a lot of energy on the stage.
The show continues as an interesting mix. There is clearly an acknowledgement of a dual discipline camaraderie going on here. I sense it is personal for most of the crowd. There is the enjoyable quality of hopeful up and comers, as yet inexperienced, tending toward the amateur end of the professional scale, but showing how hope can keep you inspired and endeavour can keep you switched on and up for the up and up, if you have the perseverance.
The fashion statements are slowly subsumed by a modestly thickening crowd. I mean it is hardly dense, but I don’t mean it detracts from the atmosphere. On my count, there are around sixty silhouetted gyrating shapes up front of me. I can’t say dancing because the rhythm is largely inconsistent, but there is certainly a lot of sound happening and plenty of episodic rhythmic grabs to hold on too. It is nice to see nearly everyone is on the dance floor instead of hunkered down in even darker corners or blankly tapping their toes in stage remote seats. I think the band and the audience are getting a mutually pleasurable buzz from their collective effort at novelty and vigour. It is great to see so many young women with so many different backgrounds going for it. It is hope that keeps me warm (with thanks to Mel C).
The Elle Shimada Band will be back at The Evelyn in Brunswick St next Wednesday. I do not know if the whole fashion thing happens again, but I hope it does for the next crowd as well.
The best things about using a camera are the ways in which it makes you observe more closely, see more clearly, examine subjects more intensely. That being said, the worst things about using a camera are the ways in which it can tempt you to be exclusive, focusing on the photo instead of being mindful of the present, capturing a photo moment instead of a set of contextual memories, creating an image for putting yourself in or at a scene, instead of understanding and appreciating your place in the scene.
Photographers should always be clear about their purpose, either recording an aspect of reality or creating a new one. Photography should not be deceitful.
Here once on this path love’s torment
Found me quietly pleading in fear
Then twice by this way love’s sonnet
Helped me to see my way clear
As I thrice put my case love’s comet
Struck me, rendered me seer
Four times in the midst of love’s torrent
My heart stricken by love beyond peer
A fifth run to the end of love’s gauntlet
Win or lose shapes my life on from here
The welcome arrival of Lesley, Marie and Michele usually leads to a walk. Today was no exception. Since they were on the way back to Melbourne this afternoon, the time between lunch and departure was fairly tight. We needed a route, preferably a circuit, of around 5km. At 5.05km, this loop fitted the bill.
Starting at the corner of Nicholls Lane and Jukes Rd we headed toward the Strathbogie Merton Rd on a gentle downward gradient. The dirt had been recently graded smooth to the driveway of the only farm house. This was a just few hundred metres down the 900m lane. Beyond was a pretty, little used, leaf-littered, dusty grey track. This track cut between dry woodland above. Below is a rustic dell including a rush bordered pond within romantic farmland, submerged in forest.
Turning left into the Strathbogie-Merton Rd began a modest incline on narrow winding white gravel. This road is closely skirted by forest across steep slopes and within deep gullies. All are dotted with beautiful, lichen draped granite boulders and formations. The grey green of eucalyptus leaves is set against the walls of white trunked manna gums. The salmon patches exposed by long strips of ribbon bark falling to the ground create a glorious summer palette.
Cresting the top of the rise, we made the transition to the rolling hills of wood bound farmland. The cultivated top of the Tableland. From there it was downhill to the Jukes Rd intersection. There is a short stretch of bitumen to the sharp “V” where the roads meet. Jukes Rd takes off up the hill in a climb that has to recover the previous loss of elevation. It is enough to get the heart rate going if you push it.
The usual wildlife presented. However, unusually, we saw a wallaby chasing a hare as they both bounded down the slope and over the road in front of us! Something I can’t explain. A white throated tree creeper was spotted working the tree trunks. Currawongs chimed and kookaburras laughed at our passage with gusto. We startled a pair of common bronze wing pigeons into a panicked flight. They looked very guilty. A large echidna was foraging in the bush, but dug in deeply before Marie could get a good look. Very sensible with Marie around! Three swamp wallabies suspiciously watched our progress from behind a fallen log. They looked like they were waiting to ambush someone, but fortunately it wasn’t us.
This was a very pleasant walk. A fairly steep rise through the manna, narrow leafed peppermint and stringy-bark forest to the peak would make an interesting side expedition. However, the tree clad crown might not lend itself to a view.
It is Australia Day. For the first time, I attended an Australia Day event. I have never supported the notions of nationalism and jingoism that the day implies.
I thought I might attend this year for the simple reason I plan to do more roving reporting for Tableland Talk. I want to attend more community events because I believe sharing and supporting each other is the pinnacle of human endeavour. I also want to acknowledge achievements recognised by the community. But still, I kept changing my mind. I wasn’t going, then I was, then I wasn’t, then I went.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Australia is a great place to live, with many great people. However, although I feel we are fortunate to be here in the land of Oz, I don’t believe for a minute Australians are any better than other members of humanity. We too are subject to human nature. We have the potential to be as good as and as bad as anyone else.
To my mind, a principal strength has been our adoption of other ethnicities and cultures – over time. The shameful treatment of the indigenous community being the glaring exception. Otherwise, I love the diversity and multiculturalism that is largely celebrated here. This should be the real reason to enjoy a national day, not the arbitrary “Australian values” espoused by desperate Conservative politicians.
Our un-revered Prime Minister Scott Morrison tipped me over the line. He provided me with a mode of protest. I wanted to make a statement as a rebuttal of Morrison’s anti-democratic announcement that he would “protect our national day from people trying to skirt the rules or playing politics”. How would he achieve this? By threatening elected local governments considering changing the day of their citizenship ceremonies and insisting attendees adopt a dress code imposed by the Department of Home Affairs.
Australian values or un-Australian, you be the judge. I for one chose to attend the local Australia Day gathering dressed in thongs, shorts and a T shirt. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone recognised my bold political statement.
This is Kiera walking by Julian Opie
Her gait is casual, her strides equidistant, her steps flow, one into the other
When Kiera walks she holds her back straight, her body tall
Kiera’s deportment is posture perfect, her carriage graceful
Kiera’s head sits proudly above her shoulders
Kiera holds her head high and steady
Kiera is confident, possibly aloof, purposefully advancing, focussing ahead, apparently disinterested in those of us observing her
As she rolls her shoulders with each forward step a small patch of white skin momentarily flashes above her breast
Kiera’s slender arms sway back and forth in alternating, measured unison
Each hand a pendulum weight that arcs in balancing synchrony with the opposing leg
Kiera’s hips sway as her pelvis thrusts gently forward with every rocking pace
Her thighs emerge from under her short skirt accentuating a lithe, long body as she catwalks endlessly, captive within the static frame
Kiera walks eternally by as a lateral projection, her curved buttocks accentuate the femininity of her stride
Kiera is an elegant image of the fluid mechanics of young adult human ambulation
The artist, Julian Opie, created Kiera
Julian is a master reductionist of the human form
From the father to the son
Two men bound as one
From your time as a boy
You have brought your father
From the father to the man
I will love you to the end
Not just for being my son
But also for being my friend
I love your powerful words
Your great sense of romance
Your reflection and your humour,
Love of life’s elaborate dance
But most of all I love
Self centred it may be
Your willingness to share
All these things with me
She is like glass
I see through her
Tough and fragile
When we touch
Firm and thin
Her boney skin
Yet she shines
Bright as day
Prism of love’s
Life’s hot spark
Lit to shower
Heart of glass
With inner power
She is like glass
Shaped and formed
I see in her
A future bright
I see crystal
I see light
From the first scenes, where the new Soviet Typhoon class submarine leaves the Polijarny Inlet, the sense of menace is profound. You just know this is going to be tense all the way through.
Sean Connery is perfectly cast as commander Marco Ramius, “The Vilnius Schoolteacher” of Russian attack Commanders. A bear of a man in charge of a monster of a boat with an arsenal of annihilation at his disposal …… and then there are the “doors”.
Meanwhile, the Americans become aware of the emergence of the new sub. Tom Clancy’s perennial character CIA analyst Jack Ryan puts his highly sensitised and suspicious nature to the test.
Concurrently, USS Dallas, an LA class attack submarine is patrolling near the Russian Sub base at Murmansk. It picks up the Red October, tracking the new beast of the sea carefully, until, the Russian inexplicably disappears.
Unaware of the proximity of a US sub, Ramius confronts a weasel like Soviet political officer who precociously awaits the commander in his private cabin. This does not bode well. Together they must open their mission orders from the Commander’s safe. They use their two independent, missile arming keys. A “dreadful accident” ensues and the scene is set.
It never lets up from here. The build of Red October is intense and anxiety provoking. As the Soviet fleet scrambles and the US NSA fears a fist strike, against the odds one person prosecutes a rational interpretation of events.
This is a deep sea game of cat and mouse that threatens the security of the world in a way that any one of us can relate to, fearfully, in fiction or in truth.
As relevant and potent today as when released in 1990, be afraid, be very afraid.
A bit of a rethink needed this morning. I have been in the habit of alternating time on the bike with a bit of a run – most days. The bike activity varies between the resistance trainer, on the quieter bitumen, dirt tracks or in the bush every now and then. It is something I intend to keep up as is (despite the magpie season). However, the running has presented some serious problems.
The first running problem appeared to be a product of distance and age. As I regularly got further past the 6km mark, my intermittent left hip malalignment became increasingly troublesome. I started having to stop to line up the ball and socket more often. Also, the hip was becoming sore between times, which was new. Hmmm. It was looking like time to reconsider my approach.
Then there was the dog. Running along Spring Crrek Rd one day, there was suddenly a rush of snapping teeth and aggressive growling and barking behind me. A charging border collie had come out of nowhere. I must have passed it in the scrub.
He got under my legs and knocked me to the ground. I landed hard on the bitumen, scoring myself some scrapes and nasty bruises. Luckily he hadn’t got a grip at this stage, but he was coming at me while I was on the ground. Fortunately, he chose to come at my legs again. I was able to kick him in the neck. It must have hurt because he backed off, snarling with his hackles way up.
I was seriously frightened and badly shaken. I had landed square on my hip and wondered if it was broken. Lying there without any mechanical form of defence I was sure those teeth were going to find a mark.
I tentaively stood up to test my weight bearing. It was OK, so I steadily backed away. After a couple of lunges and as I got further down the road the dog started to stand back, more ready to let me go. At this point, I decided this sort of running wasn’t for me.
However, confining yourself exclusively to one form of exercise gets to be a demotivating drag. I will be forever grateful to swimming, which restored me from the severe back injury scrap heap many years ago, when I suffered extruded discs at work. In health, I would choose swimming if I didn’t find it so boring. So, what to do? I tried quigong, but it was to slow for me. Yoga never felt right either.
Then, in the context of all the new research demonstrating the benefits of short bursts of high intensity exercise, I thought running a couple of km along the creek might be good. It was. Beautiful, doable, no hip soreness. But yesteday ….
As has happened several times before, Mary and I were walking along, aware to watch for snakes. As usual, we let our minds and eyes wander upward toward koala and bird spotting. Once again we only became alert to a snake when it was underfoot. Here it is, a medium sized copperhead. Easily mistaken for a red bellied black or a dark coloured brown, you can tell it is a copperhead by the pale triangular scales along the lips.
So, for the warmer months at least, I think a change of plan is necessary. I see enough snakes to realise that I am genuinely running the risk of a snake strike along the creek. That won’t stop me walking there, but I think running heightens the risk.
Instead, today I ran through town, down to the derelict Armstong St Bridge (see photo in previous post) and back. Even surfaces, a modest rise, a gravel footpath through town, a low traffic dead end blacktop, scenic rolling hills with the pretty golf course on one side and the solitary water tower on the other, a gorgeous riparian bush zone to look over at the terminus. Not a bad change of plan.
Mode of Transit: Walk
Distance from Melbourne: 150km
Location: Strathbogie Township & surrounds
GPS coordinates: Start and finish 35 51’ 13” S 145 44’ 45” E
Environmental status: 1km Main and Armstrong Streets, Strathbogie – built environment, golf course and pasture.
2.5km bushwalk in Sevens Creeks Wildlife and Bridge to Bridge Reserves – high quality habitat comprising healthy riparian zones.
Degree of difficulty: gradient some short steep rises, rocky outcrops, otherwise easy walking, but requires sure-footedness
Distance: 3.5km circuit
Facilities: General store open 7 days. Public toilets at local Recreation Ground 0.5km up Spring Creek Rd from Spring Creek Bridge
Take: hat, sunblock, sturdy walking shoes, water, camera, phone
1. Topography: modestly undulating, short steep slopes, rocky and earthen embankments
2. Surface: engineered gravel footpath to bitumen roadway to unmarked and absent dirt trails and rocky outcrops to grassy pathway with uneven ground
3. Waterways: Seven Creeks, turbid permanent water, meandering across flood plains or cascading through rocky terrain with sandy beaches and lazy pools
Spring Creek, clear, sandy or rock bottomed permanent water with cascades running under Spring Creek Bridge
4. Flora: open woodland including significant stands of established swamp, narrow leafed peppermint, manna gums with poa meadows. Extensive decade old Strathbogie Landcare plantings of indigenous trees and shrubs. Occasional, dispersed woody weed clumps (principally blackberry) along the Sevens, but severe around the Goulburn Valley Water Treatment Plant (which they have agreed to correct). Bridge to Bridge is largely woody weed free.
5. Fauna: indigenous wildlife is common, including native fish, birds, koalas, echidnas, wombats, eastern greys, swamp wallabies, rakali, bobucks, snakes, lizards and platypus
6. Natural environment: healthy riparian zone
7. Built environment: Township zone and riparian bush zone with few nearby farmhouses
8. Safety: animal burrows, slippery surfaces, uneven ground, snake habitat, discarded wire
Comments: with the comfort of access to the Strathbogie Store, this short, beautiful walk can be undertaken with little in the way of carried provisions and much to see. Opportunities for candid wildlife image captures are likely.
Directions: Commence at the Spring Creek Bridge, walking up Main St until you reach the Strathbogie Memorial Hall at Armstrong St. Turn left and walk along Armstrong St, you will pass the town water tower on the right and golf course entrance on the left. Keep walking until you arrive at the the disused bridge (completely unsafe to cross). 10 metres before the bridge on the right is a gap in the fence between 2 large posts. Enter the Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve here. The trail can disappear. You will best pick it up by keeping close to the fence line on the higher side of the slope, deviating to and returning from features that attract you. There is no need to cross the creek. Follow the trail until you get to the Goulburn Valley Water Treatment Plant. Walk under Smith’s Bridge to enter the Bridge to Bridge Picnic Ground and Track. This end of the Bridge to Bridge is a short nature circuit. Either arm of the track will take you to a boardwalk from where you can continue your return to the Spring Creek Bridge via the confluence of Seven and Spring Creeks.
Nearby Tracks & Trails: Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve to Brookleigh Rd. Proposed Magiltan Project upstream of Spring Creek to Magiltan Creek.
Links to The Great Strathbogie Trail: along the length of the Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve
Ideas for improvement: woody weed control, trail markers, directional and safety entry signs, some basic trail work to flatten angled slopes